Saturday, March 24, 2012

Birth Plan

We're getting so close to baby time already!  Only about a month left!  I finished up our birth plan tonight.  I'm posting it in case it would be of interest to any of you soon-to-be-giving birth women who read this blog.  (Praying for you!)  We're definitely seeking a natural birth, which I suppose in the obstetric world qualifies us as "crunchy."  We took Bradley classes, which in the natural birthing world is pretty "establishment" since it advocates hospital birth.  I have no desire to eat my placenta or anything like that, I think it's just more evidence-based practice than the current medical model of childbirth is!  Really, I could go on and on about how many standard procedures are just really stupid, but I shan't.  At least not in this post. :)  You can get a good idea of my views from the birth plan.

The format for the birth plan is somewhat awkward, what with just about everything being under "Special Labor Requests," but that's the format my midwives requested.  And of course I edited out identifying information.  I have an addendum for induction and c-section, which is sort of cheating because I'm supposed to keep it to one page.  I felt it wasn't fair to make me waste precious space on what I really really don't want.  So I'll only share that part with the midwives if necessary.  But you, O privileged reader, get the addendum too.

I'm really pleased with my midwives overall.  They have always been very much supportive of my desire for natural birth, which is why I switched to their practice at 30 weeks during my last pregnancy.  There are things about the hospital environment which I don't like and can't control, like not being able to opt out of having a hep lock or the never ending parade of doctors, nurses, and social workers coming your postpartum room to check if you're getting enough rest.  But the thing is, my midwives don't like those things either!  Really, I feel like the birth plan is more for the benefit of the hospital staff.  It's good for the midwives too, for sure, because they can't remember everything I want, but generally speaking they don't just do things because it's the standard procedure the way hospital staff often do.
And finally, this isn't really part of the birth plan but I'm so excited that we've settled on names!  If this baby is a boy he will be John Christopher.  I think it's a strong name for the New Evangelization (St. John the Evangelist, and "Christ bearer").  Whether we call him John or Johnny or Jack will depend on his personality and just what ends up sticking.  If we have a girl she will be Kathryn Grace, to be called Katie Grace.  Her patrons will be St. Catherine Laboure and Our Lady of Grace.

Birth Plan
Due Date May 1, 2012

***If at any time the baby appears to be in danger of dying or being stillborn, please baptize him or her as soon as possible by pouring water over the head and saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Anyone may do this.

Support People During Labor:  Ryan (husband), Kate (friend)

Special Labor Requests:
            Admission:  We would like to labor at home as long as possible.  If we arrive in hospital and I am dilated to 5 cm or fewer, we would like the option of returning home before going through the full admissions process.
            Hospital Environment:  Reasonable privacy and a calm, focused environment are important to me so please keep voices down and my door closed during labor.  Please keep vaginal exams and monitoring to an absolute minimum.  I would like to have as much freedom of movement as possible.  If the equipment is available, I would like to have access to a birthing ball, squatting bar, birthing stool, and labor tub.  I understand that I cannot give birth in the tub.  Any students present may observe only.  I would like to wear my own clothes during labor and postpartum. 
Second Stage:  It is important for me to be able to choose whichever pushing position feels right at the time, including squatting or on hands and knees.  I prefer no time limits on pushing as long as baby is okay.  To prevent tearing, please use perineal massage and hot compresses.  I would rather tear than have an episiotomy, but if an episiotomy is necessary I prefer a pressure episiotomy if possible.
After Baby is Born:  I would like my baby to be placed immediately skin-to-skin with me for nursing and bonding.  Please delay all newborn procedures such as weighing until we have had a chance to nurse both breasts.  I am interested in participating in the Kangaroo Care study.  We decline eye ointment and Hepatitis B vaccine.  For myself, please allow the placenta to be expelled spontaneously, without pulling on the cord. Please use local anesthesia for any necessary repairs.  In postpartum, I would like complete rooming-in with my baby.  Please don't disturb me in postpartum if it's not absolutely necessary.  I would like as short of a stay in the hospital as possible.

Pain Control:  Please do not offer pain medication unless I request it.

Cut the Cord:  Only after it stops pulsating on its own.

Breast or Bottle Feed:  Exclusive breastfeeding.  No artificial nipples of any kind, please.

Circumcision:  No, thank you.

Birth Control:  Ecological breastfeeding.  If we see you again next year, Deus vult!

Postpartum help:  Ryan will have some paternity leave time and my mother is coming for a week.

Baby’s Doctor:

Addendum:  In Case of Induction or Cesarean
Induction:  I would like to avoid induction as long as baby and I are healthy.  If I am “overdue,” I would like to try natural techniques first.  These include walking, nipple stimulation, sexual intercourse, and chiropractic.  If medical induction is necessary, please give us time alone to discuss before we agree to any intervention.  We want to be fully confident that we are doing the best thing for our baby with any plan of action and not be rushed unless it is a true emergency.
Cesarean:  We really would rather not have one of these!  If a Cesarean is not a true emergency, please give Ryan and me time alone to discuss before asking for written consent.  Ryan is to be present at all times, and I would like to remain conscious during the procedure if possible.  As much as possible, I would like the rest this birth plan to still apply in the event of a c-section.  If I cannot immediately nurse, etc. after the birth, please allow Ryan to hold the baby skin-to-skin until I can.  I will sign any waivers necessary to permit me to be with my baby in recovery, and would like my catheter and IV removed ASAP after recovery.


  1. thank you for posting this! I know I still have a ways to go until this time comes, but it really is good to have a resource like this available. I'll likely be going to the midwife center in Pittsburgh if we're still in the area when we have children. :)

    God bless, you all are in my prayers!

  2. Wait so... you and Ryan, who dislike all boys names with nicknames, are considering calling John Jack or even Johnny?? I mentioned that to Chuckie and he couldn't believe it either lol

  3. Katie, Ryan was always much more anti-nickname than I. But I think John is an exception as far as Ryan is concerned mainly because the nicknames are also as long or longer than the original name, and he has a Grandpa Jack he was close to growing up.

  4. Oh man - I bet Ryan's excited to actually see the birth this time!